May 2011

On July 5th David C. Cook publisher will release what is scheduled to be the fourth book length response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins. The book is titled Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things we Made up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle. You can pre-pay for the book now from David C. Cook for $14.99.

Here is the publisher description:

In this groundbreaking new book, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle take on the topic of hell and our eternal destiny, with a sense of humility and a deep respect for the inspired Word of God. They will address questions such as “Will everyone be saved?” and “Does God Get What He Wants in the End?” as well as reviewing in depth, everything Jesus said about Hell.

However, the authors warn that we have to guard ourselves against “a heartlessness” when we talk about this theology and this doctrine, because ultimately this about people. Chan and Sprinkle lay all the evidence on the table and present all the facts from Scripture, so that people can decide what to believe for themselves.

The chapters are as follows:

  1. Does Everyone go to Heaven?
  2. Has Hell Changed? Or Have We?
  3. What Jesus Actually Said About Hell
  4. The Rest of The New Testament on Hell
  5. Now What?
  6. What if God……?

You can download the Introduction here and below is a teaser video by Chan himself:

I have to confess that I am not  a huge fan of romance movies or Christian romance novels. At this point I am not going to set out all of my reservations about them but I will point you to Russell Moore who has articulated some that I agree with. You will be interested to see what he draws comparisons to.

Read the whole thing here.

So what do you think?

I remember the first time I drove down the streets of Chicago. I was on a trip with the youth group I did a summer internship with. We drove a school bus and I had my window down. It was all I could do to keep my head in the window and my mouth shut. I was so stunned by the beauty and tall buildings that my mouth was hanging wide open. I kept saying, “Wow. Wow. Wow.”

I realize that cities have their downfalls such as being hotbeds for all kinds of sin. However, we cannot let what the world has done to culture, or to our cities, control our view of it. From Genesis 1:26-29 we see that God intended for cultural development to occur and that He commanded man to make it happen as part of his imaging God to the world.

Fast forward to Revelation 21:9-27 and the New Jerusalem. The picture we get here is simply stunning. Previously in verses 1-8 we see the return of heaven on earth. Then in verse 10 we see “the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” But the text does not stop there. What comes next is a beautiful description, as best as John can convey it, of what this new city of Jerusalem is like – the city of all cities:

[11] having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. [12] It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—[13] on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. [14] And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
[15] And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. [16] The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. [17] He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. [18] The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. [19] The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, [20] the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. [21] And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Isn’t that just beautiful! But notice something else that people tend to miss. Jumping from Gen. 1 to Rev. 21 we go from a garden to a city. The next few verses tell us something about what is in this city:

[22] And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. [23] And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. [24] By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, [25] and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. [26] They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

Verse 24 and 26 tell us that “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” and “they will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.” This bringing in of glory by kings and the nations happens after the renewal of all things. Culture has been renewed and the kings and nations will bring into the new city the glory of their work.

Cities are the pinnacle of cultural development and grandeur. For all of their faults, they will be renewed and their redeemed glory will enter the new city of Jerusalem.

I say all of this to show you the video below. I am not trying to interpret Rev. 21 literalistically or make exact one-to-one comparisons. What I do want to do is read Rev. 21 and look at our cities today and allow them to give us a hint at the future glory of what redeemed man will bring from his redeemed cities into the city – the new Jerusalem. There is something about our cities here and now that will be brought into the new city there and then – the new Jerusalem.

A few weeks ago I posted about the recent sex scandals that were finally being exposed within certain (note – not all) IFB churches and organizations. Well, Christina Anderson is getting her day in court reports Ernest Willis will be charged for raping Anderson twice in 97′ and Pastor Charles Phelps is on the prosecutors list of witnesses.

The trial will begin May 23rd once the jury has been selected. I am glad Anderson will get her day in court and I pray justice is done. I am saddened that this is another case where unchecked sin is putting a stain on the name of Jesus Christ and His bride the church – but we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Read the whole thing here.

The third book length response to Love Wins is Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit it) by Brian Jones from David C. Cook Publishers. This will be available in August and can be pre-ordered here. The entire title is honest especially the subtitle because lets be honest – even for those who will be saved from its fire, we dont like to talk of its fire.

Here is the publishers description:

Does hell matter? Pastor Brian Jones wants readers to know the truth.
Jones believes that the reason most Christians don’t tell their friends about Jesus has nothing to do with not knowing how—it’s because they don’t think they need to. As Jones writes, the first four years he was a pastor, he didn’t believe in hell himself. Today, he shares his story of discovering the truth that hell exists—and why many Christians are afraid to believe in it.
Hell Is Real motivates Christians who have grown complacent in their view of hell. Drawing on the teachings of Jesus, Jones leads readers into a head-on collision with apocalyptic urgency—the all-consuming, inspiring conviction that will overcome readers when they realize that hell is real and they can help save people from going there.

Redemption Church has started a new blog and to kick it off they are doing a huge book giveaway. Check out the details here for how you can enter to win!

Tyndale House Publishers will release what is another book length response to Love Wins. The title is God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News is Better than Love Wins by Mark Galli. If you have not read Love Wins then you will not get the subtitle. In the argument of Love Wins, Bell time and time again puts forth what he believes is the predominate view of the Gospel according to other orthodox evangelicals and then follows it with – but the good news is better than that. I also think the title – God Wins – is perfect because it implies that no one of Gods attributes can be held above the rest but that they all work together equally. As Tim Keller said at TGC this year, “At the cross all of the attributes of God win.”

This book is to release in August.

HT: Baker Book House Connection

If you grew up reading the KJV like I did (switched to NASB & ESV 8 yrs. ago) then this video will ring true and put a smile on your face. If you want to know how intrenched the KJV language (yes it has its own unique English) is within your vocabulary and that of the worlds then you need to watch this video:

Here is a great short video the KJV Only Debate blog found on the history of the KJV. The outline is as follows:

Was the King James Version the first translation into English? (1:08)
Was the King James Version King James’ idea? (3:00)
Who was the King James Version against? (5:30)
Was the King James Version a fresh translation? (7:40)
Was the King James Version the most popular Bible of its time? (10:48)

HT: KJV Only Debate

Small groups are great when they are run the way they are supposed to. It is a struggle to keep them on target and growing (not just numerically). But growth requires depth in a number of ways. This video is an exaggeration to make a point about what characterizes many small groups:

HT: Joe Carter

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